Demodex
The Great Dane Lady has an article which states this is not genetic!

 

 

 

 

 

Demodex
by Catherine Donnelly

 

From my understanding, Demodex is not a genetic disease. Demodex mites feed on systemic yeast, dietary yeast and/or sugar in the system. Demodex mites take advantage of an immature or lowered immune system, which is why the very young get it, and sometimes the very old, or ill. A dog's immune system is usually not mature until at least one year of age. This is only one reason why it is not advisable to breed dogs younger than 12 - 18 months.

Demodex mites are living in just about every dog, deep within the hair follicles. When pups are nursing, the mites migrate from the mother to the pups. This is why the most common areas to show Demodex are first on the face, head and front paws, then migrating to every other area of the body.

When the immune system is maturing, but battling to keep the mites in balance, you can sometimes see hairless patches appearing and disappearing on different parts of the body. It may even progress to the point where the mites colonize and erupt on the surface, making the skin look pimply or rashy.

I would suggest dabbing lemon juice or apple cider vinegar on the spots. The vinegar will keep the odor down from any secondary staph infection. Yeast ears will commonly be a problem during this battle. Some vets may suggest that Demodex is genetic. Reasoning for this may be:

bullet Veterinarians may not understand what genetic means. Demodex is not in a pet's genetic make-up. The immune system is a living thing that can be raised or suppressed, it is not fixed.
bullet They may not understand the life of a Demodex mite and how the body can be helped to fight it off on it's own, without toxins taken internally and applied externally which have long-lasting, detrimental effects.
bullet They may not have enough canine nutritional knowledge to understand the role that diet has on the immune system and therefore the demodectic mite. Generations of being fed kibble may wear down the immune system of each successive generation until today you hear about demodectic puppies all the time. You can take a dam who has produced an entire litter of demodectic pups put her on a grain less raw diet (a la Kymythy Schultze) with supplementation for a year, breed her again and she will not produce any Demodex in the subsequent litter.

Now that we have established that Demodex most likely is not genetic, let me say that as I understand it, it is "congenital" in that a sub-standard immune system is passed on from the mother to the pups, and the mites migrate to the pups from the mom shortly after birth. After generations of being fed kibble, which is a "dead" food, the mother will have little immunity to pass onto her pups, and she will harbor plenty of demodectic mites in her pores ready to migrate to the pups. That is the sum total of the relationship between demodectic mites and how it is "inherited" from the mom by her pups.

How To Treat Mites Naturally

So, your pet has Demodex and you don't know what to do about it? Can it be treated naturally? YES! In fact, I would highly recommend it. The conventional path may be highly toxic and can keep your pet's immune system weakened for life.

  1. Feed an anti-yeast diet. Mites feed on the yeast living in the body, and systemic yeast feed on nutritional yeast and sugars (carbohydrates). If you break the cycle, you weaken or starve the systemic yeast and the mites are not able to colonize in the pores. This is the reason for a grain less diet (ESPECIALLY NO WHEAT OR YEAST OF ANY KIND) with only meat, bones and low glycemic fruits and veggies -- in other words, only foods that do not readily turn to sugar in the system.

Plain kefir is a wonderful anti-yeast food, in moderation. Plain yogurt is a secondary substitute. Live enzymes/probiotics are anti-yeast agents and can be purchased as supplements if your pet is lactose intolerant. Below is a sample recipe:

GRAINLESS (anti-yeast) CHICKEN STEW

In a medium to large crock-pot:

1 whole chicken, or family pack size of chicken thighs or whole chicken cut up 2 low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes 2 cloves fresh garlic or 2 tsp. garlic powder 1 or 2 fresh or frozen vegetables (no canned) from the following list, add as much as will fit comfortably in the pot. Keep changing the veggies out on a rotating basis for variety each week:

Dandelion
Greens
Carrot Tops
Kale
Spinach
Asparagus
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Celery
Summer Squash

Remove as much fat and excess chicken skin as easily possible and discard. In crock-pot place chicken, bouillon cubes, water and garlic. Gizzards and other organ meats can be included in the stew. Cook on LOW heat for 6 hours, or until the chicken is completely cooked. Add vegetables. If the veggies were frozen, you can cook another 5 minutes. Fresh veggies might need to be cooked a little longer.

Before serving, remove the bones and skin. Once it's been in the refrigerator, you can skim off the excess fat.

Refrigerate for 6 days -- then discard. I feed this to my whole family, human and canine, but before I serve the stew to my dogs, I add a little Nupro (our exclusive formulation is yeast free) vitamin/mineral supplement and Mega Omega-3, an essential fatty acid supplement. I also find this is an easy way to feed herbal tinctures if I am treating them for anything, but you can only add them once the stew returns to room temperature.

NOTE: Remember to alternate your meat and vegetables on a weekly basis. Folks who prefer to feed raw can adapt the recipes to eliminate cooking. If feeding kibble, I would recommend Flint River Ranch Lamb/millet/rice kibble. This can be ordered by calling (909) 682-5048 and state that you were referred by distributor FX53 (Darleen Rudnick of Purely Pets). It will come via UPS. Be sure to have me send you the feeding guidelines since you feed so much less than most commercial foods. The cost "as fed" should work out to be very close to most commercial kibbles, even though the cost per pound is more.

  1. Make sure the pup gets LOTS of rest! This is crucial. If the pup is in a high traffic area, it is important to put a crate in a quiet room and give him frequent rest periods.
     
  2. Fresh air and sunshine are very therapeutic. Regular exercise and playtime is a must. Think HEALTHY. Do what the dog loves. Channel his energies by training him, teaching him tricks.
     
  3. NO STRESS. The most stressful part of a female pup's life is being in heat. If you cannot get this under control quickly, do not put her through that. The stress of the spay operation is far less than what you will see erupt during the heat cycle.
     
  4. On top of a good diet, I highly recommend supplementing with anti-oxidants (Purely Pets carries many anti-oxidants from Oxyfresh Pet Anti-Oxidants which is currently not on the website, to Holistic Animal Care's Grape Seed Extract). You can also supplement with separate anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, A and E. It is usually less expensive to go combo, and possibly add additional C if necessary. If in doubt, I suggest a consultation with our resident pet nutritionist, Darleen Rudnick, darleen@purelypets.com.

I would also suggest an all-around vitamin/mineral supplement -- Mega Pet Daily capsules. For smaller pets that have a difficult time with capsule form, I would recommend Nupro -- a wonderful vitamin/mineral supplement in a liver flavored powder, which also contains probiotics AND essential fatty acids. They make it specially for us at Purely Pets without nutritional yeast.

  1. Our most powerful anti-yeast supplement is Yeast & Fungal d'tox, a tincture you give 3-4x/day. It can be given in food if you double the dosage. This ensures that you are not only weakening the yeast, but also eradicating it.

Typically the dog will go through a "healing crisis" for a day or two. This healing crisis may include fever, eye exudate, mucus from the nose, yeast ears and itchy skin eruptions (Aller'g Free and Rejuva Spray helps).

  1. We do not suggest vaccinations until the crisis is under control. You may want to explain to your veterinarian that you want a health waiver until the pup is clear of Demodex for at least 2 - 3 months. It states on the vaccine vials that they should ONLY be given to healthy animals. Since Demodex can be life threatening, you cannot damage the immune system further with vaccinations.
     
  2. We suggest controlling parasites naturally. Nature's Finest Herbal Wormer can be used monthly to keep tapeworm and other parasites under control. It contains ground walnut hull which naturalists use to keep heartworm in check. You can also use aromatherapy to keep fleas and mosquitoes away (ask about our new Aromaleigh line!).

If you check with the manufacturers of the heartworm preventatives, you will probably be told that it is only needed every 6 weeks, and that they only recommend it every month to make it easy to remember to give it on a set day of the month.

For fleas, I suggest Nature's Finest Flea Terminator. You can use beneficial nematodes or diatomaceous earth (edible grade now available at Purely Pets in 3 lb. jars, though it is not on the website yet) and lemon grasses in the yard. There is a wealth of information out there to help keep you away from putting poison in your dog each month.

We hope you find the above information helpful. Please contact Purely Pets with any questions you may have.

 


 

 

 



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